[Idle-dev] Erik Thompson's opinions on IDLE

Tal Einat taleinat at gmail.com
Thu Dec 28 00:13:42 CET 2006

On 12/7/06, Kurt B. Kaiser <kbk at shore.net> wrote:
> There are many Python IDEs and editors with a development policy of
> adding lots of features.  In fact, most of them do this, since it keeps
> the development team amused and differentiates them from the
> competition.  Over time this leads to a very busy interface with
> complicated menus, rows of buttons, and multiple status and side bars.
> Some even incorporate GUI editors.
> IDLE is perhaps the sole representative of an alternative approach and
> therefore occupies an ecological niche!  It's a lot more powerful than
> it appears to be.
> It would be nice if we had an enhancement to the Options dialog which
> provided an extension configurator.  Then we could easily add more
> features for those who need them without cluttering the GUI.  Also, IDLE
> extensions could be provided as third party contributions with a central
> repository somewhere.
> So the question is, what *essential* features are missing from IDLE?
> What improvements in usability could be made to the ones we already have
> without making the interface noisy, confusing, or chewing up valuable
> screen space?  People often say they prefer other 'editors', but is there
> really something missing from IDLE or are they just drawn to 'flash'?
> My top items:
> Incremental search (in a text entry widget in the bottom status bar).
> Display/modification of sys.argv, probably in the status bar, or maybe
> in a separate status bar which would appear when activated.
> A solid way to copy code from the Shell to an edit window (smart
> copy/paste doing tab conversion where necessary?).
> A way to cut text in the shell without restarting it when it gets too
> full (You lose the history when you restart the shell.  Maybe save
> history across restarts?)
> Any comments or votes on the above?

A major feature I miss is a "Goto definition" function. I spend far too much
time manually searching for function and class definitions when working with

- Tal
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